Balancing bants with hard work: A Q&A with Laura Barron
Laura Barron is the assistant editor in charge of Castleford’s Professional writing desk – a group famous in the Auckland office for their hard work, plethora of biscuits and sudden bouts of extraordinary laughter.
We caught up with Laura to find out more about her, and how she manages such a spirited dream team.
So, you’re originally from England – what brought you to New Zealand?
I worked solidly in education my whole life until 2016, when I finished my Master’s degree in Newcastle. After that I fancied a change and moving to the complete other side of the world seemed like it would be sufficient!
My mum actually has a bit of a running joke that I always try and go as far away from home as possible. First it was Newcastle, then New Zealand.
What’s your secret to building a team with such positive energy as the Prof desk?
Castleford is such a special place to work because everyone is genuinely friends with each other, and I try to make sure that carries across at the team level.
Whether it’s BYOs, team breakfasts or even a few cheeky karaoke nights, Prof are always doing stuff outside of work (this is helped by the fact that half of us live about 100 metres away from each other!).
We all get along really well and I’d like to think that comes across in the work we do.
But how do you encourage people to balance banter with hard work?
I’m not sure the rest of the office would necessarily agree we get the balance right [grumpy editor’s note: -redacted-], but I think it’s our chattiness that helps us do our jobs better – we actually enjoy coming into work every day.
Although when it comes to crunch time, each of us will also periodically announce we’re ‘plugging in’, which basically means we’re putting on our headphones. When you can hear the drum and bass blaring it means I’m in full writing mode!
Who are you outside of work?
My weekends and evenings tend to be pretty action packed. I spend most of my time outside work hanging out with friends, but I also like my own space occasionally and do quite a lot of reading (I’ve just finished re-reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray” which is my favourite book).
I’ll often be at parties or gigs at the weekend, but I try and balance this with going out and spending time in nature wherever possible. Basically, I’m pretty much up for doing anything!
You mentioned gigs. We know you love a good festival: What’s the best music festival in NZ?
Well I went to four festivals this summer so that’s a big question.
The best one has to be Splore. The energy there is amazing – everyone is so happy and I don’t think it’d be possible to have a bad time. It doesn’t hurt that it’s on the beach as well, so it’s in stark contrast to a rainy English festival.
Right. Tough question time: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
This question inspired quite a lot of debate on the Prof desk. However, we settled on “some sort of primate”. The reason being that primates are very sociable, have disproportionate limbs to the rest of their body, and like to cause a bit of a ruckus.
A howler monkey was specifically suggested – if you’ve ever heard me laugh, you’ll understand why.